INDO-US Workshop on the Security of Agro chemicals

A Workshop on the Security of Agrochemicals was organized on 04/08/2017 at Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, Gandhinagar. This workshop was inaugurated by Dr. J. M. Vyas, Director General of Gujarat Forensic Sciences University. Dr. J. M. Vyas in his inaugural speech stated that there is a wide spread use of fertilizer and pesticides all over the country. These agro chemicals are used by the terrorists in preparing weapons of mass destruction. In order to prevent miss use of such chemicals, forensic science plays an important role. Dr. Vyas gave the example coating of urea to prevent its misuse by the Government of India. Similarly, the misuse of ammonium fertilizer can be prevented by similar technique and efforts are going on to find out some suitable solution. Dr. Vyas further stated that the farmers are using agro chemicals on large scale and yet they do not know the hazardous and ill effect of such agro chemicals. Many people are dying as a result of use of hazardous agro chemicals or they become victim of long term illness. They should be made aware of these hazardous effects by providing required information in local language. At the same time, farmers should be provided with anti dot drugs at the time of purchase of such agro chemicals.

In India, the United States (US), and around the world there is a need to ensure that agrochemicals are safely and securely stored for their intended purposes. Throughout the agrochemical life cycle, security precautions can reduce the likelihood that terrorists may acquire, through theft or purchase, hazardous agrochemicals or their precursors for use in developing terror weapons. The use and availability of hazardous agrochemicals, such as pesticides, is widespread and these chemicals are of great importance in the agricultural economy. Security in the manufacture, transport, distribution, and storage of these chemicals reduces the likelihood that these agrochemicals may fall into the wrong hands. In particular, security may be particularly lax near the tail end of the supply chain where substantial quantities of hazardous agrochemicals are commercially available to the agricultural community or are stored in significant quantities.

A workshop on the security of agrochemicals was being presented on August 4 at the Gujarat Forensics Sciences University (GFSU). The workshop is jointly organized by GFSU and Gujarat University, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT), and the Institute of Pesticide Formulation Technology (IPFT). It is conducted in association with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) (Richland, WA, USA), Oregon State University (OSU) (Corvallis, OR, USA),and the US Department of State’s Chemical Security Programme (Washington DC, USA). Prof. V. K. Jain was the coordinator of the workshop. A four-member US team from PNNL and OSU, consisting of Dr Clifford Glantz, Dr Rob Siefken, Dr Radha Kishan Motkuri, and Dr VidyasagarSathuvalliattended the workshop as distinguished faculty. Distinguished faculty from India include the CSIR’s Dr M Surianarayanan (CLRI, Chennai), Dr S.Prabhakar and Dr K. Srinivas (IICT, Hyderabad). Dr. H. A. Pandya, Vice Chancellor of the Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, Prof. Y. K. Agrawal, Director, Institute of R&D and Dr. M. S. Dahiya., Director, Institute of Forensic Science, GFSU were also present. Large number of participants from agrochemical industries, Agricultural Universities and research Institutions attended and discussed various issues pertaining to the security of agrochemicals. In addition people who are directly or indirectly connected or concerned with agrochemical supply chain also dwelled on how the security at vulnerable locations in agrochemical supply chain can be improved.